NBAA and Convention Exhibitors Share a 'Wait and See' Outlook on Fiscal Crisis

The 61st Annual National Business Aviation Association Convention opened on Monday in Orlando, Florida, on the heels of what has been called the most profound financial crisis since the Great Depression. The prevailing analysis among business aviation's movers and shakers is similar to that of political pundits. It's too early to tell what this will all mean in the long term. Unlike political analysts, however, aviation's decision-makers are faced with day-to-day strategic choices that can have a profound effect on their companies' fortunes. The consensus in the aisles at the NBAA meeting, at least this early in the process, is to continue as before, not making fundamental changes in long-term plans. With large backlogs of orders, most manufacturers are at least modestly comfortable with the immediate future. Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton said his company reviews a complement of international financial signals on a weekly basis, and top management meets monthly to discuss how changes could affect ongoing programs. But for now, he said he is waiting for events to unfold further. He said Cessna knows about designing, building and marketing airplanes. He will look to financial experts for direction on how to react to the banking crisis. And for now, most of those experts are also adopting their own "wait-and-see" philosophy.